Should A Christian Read The "Fortune" In A Chinese Restaurant Fortune Cookie?

Should A Christian Read The "Fortune" In A Chinese Restaurant Fortune Cookie?  The biblical answer is, "No!"  When my family orders Chinese food we will crack open the Fortune Cookie without reading the "Fortune" and throw it in the trash without looking at it.  After doing this we will enjoy our cookie sans the "Fortune."

Many people in "Evangelical" circles will claim "Christian Liberty" when reading a Fortune Cookie and label a Christian with my perspective as "Legalistic."  That is not surprising when you consider the state of the Evangelical Church today.  Many people who regularly attend church and claim to be Christian are not going to heaven according to Jesus.

"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it...Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!,"
Matthew 7:13, 21-23.

Wikipedia has an in depth article on the origin of the Fortune Cookie:

"As far back as the 19th century, a cookie very similar in appearance to the modern Fortune cookie was made in Kyoto, Japan, and there is a Japanese temple tradition of random fortunes, called omikuji.  The Japanese version of the cookie differs in several ways: they are a little bit larger; are made of darker dough; and their batter contains sesame and miso rather than vanilla and butter.  They contain a fortune; however, the small slip of paper was wedged into the bend of the cookie rather than placed inside the hollow portion. This kind of cookie is called Tsujiura Senbei and are still sold in some regions of Japan...Up to around World War II, fortune cookies were known as "fortune tea cakes" -- likely reflecting their origins in Japanese tea cakes.  It later became known as a "fortune cooky" before settling on the current spelling of "fortune cookie.

Fortune cookies moved from being a confection dominated by Japanese-Americans to one dominated by Chinese-Americans sometime around World War II.  One theory for why this occurred is because of the Japanese American internment during World War II, which forcibly put over 100,000 Japanese-Americans in internment camps, including those who had produced fortune cookies. This gave an opportunity for Chinese manufacturers

Most of the people who claim to have introduced the cookie to the United States are Japanese, so the theory is that these bakers were modifying a cookie design which they were aware of from their days in Japan," Wikipedia.

The history of a Fortune Cookie is rooted in the Japanese temple tradition of random fortunes, called Omikuji.  Omikuji is explained in Wikipedia,

"Omikuji are random fortunes written on strips of paper at Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan.  Literally "sacred lottery," these are usually received by making a small offering (generally a five-yen coin as it is considered good luck) and randomly choosing one from a box, hoping for the resulting fortune to be good. (Nowadays, these are sometimes coin-slot machines)...The random fortunes in fortune cookies may be derived from omikuji; this is claimed by Seiichi Kito of Fugetsu-Do, and supported by evidence that (American) fortune cookies derive from 19th century Kyoto cookies"

Fortune Cookie "Fortunes" are thoroughly pagan with roots in Shinto Shrines and Buddhist Temples.  Fortune Cookie "Fortunes" are a form of divination and God strictly forbids his people from practicing such demonic activities.

"When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.  There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch.
Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.  For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.  Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.  For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do,"
Deuteronomy 18:9-14.

In The New Unger's Bible Dictionary Merrill F. Unger correctly defines divination.  A Fortune Cookie falls into this definition of divination due to its propensity to "reveal" secret knowledge about the future.

"Divination, the art of obtaining secret knowledge, especially of the future, is a pagan counterpart of prophecy.  Careful comparison of Scripture will reveal that inspirational divination is by demonic power, whereas genuine prophecy is by the Spirit of God.  The biblical attitude toward divination is distinctively hostile (Deuteronomy 18:10-12)," Page 313.

Merrill F. Unger gives us great spiritual insight into Deuteronomy 18 in his superb Commentary on the Old Testament:

"God is grossly dishonored by all traffic in the occult arts.  Hence, all pagan modes of inquiring after supernatural counsel were banned from the LORD's people...Occultism is basically an appeal for knowledge and power from demonic powers, instead of from GodAn offshoot of pagan idolatry, it insults God by openly breaking the first two tables of the Decalogue, thus violating the heart of the covenant relationship with the LORD (Exodus 20:5), involving traffic with demon (1 Corinthians 10:20)," page 256.

In the book of Second Corinthians the Apostle Paul made it very clear that a believer in Jesus should have no part of pagan practices:

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?  And what communion hath light with darkness?  And what concord hath Christ with Belial?  or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?  For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,"
2 Corinthians 6:14-17

The biblical teaching on divination (Fortune Cookies) is plain and a person who calls themselves a Christian can follow what the Bible teaches or they can ignore it.  If you are a babe in Christ (1 Corinthians 3:1, 1 Peter 2:2) it is understandable for you to not know these things. 

However, if you call yourself a Christian and you willfully disregard clear and plain teachings of Scripture after being shown what the Bible teaches on the subject one has to wonder if you are really saved.  What you do says a lot about your spiritual condition.

"But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?  Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:  He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.  But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell.  And the ruin of that house was great,
Luke 6:46-49

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.  You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?  Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Therefore by their fruits you will know them.  Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven,"
Matthew 7:15-21
"When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.  There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.  For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.  Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.  For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do,"
Deuteronomy 18:9-14